What Does Twitter’s New Ban on Social Media Links Mean for NFT Artists?

A side profile of a puffin with its beak open. The puffin stands on a rock. The rocky shore and ocean behind the puffin are blurred out with a heavy bokeh
Lauren McDonagh-Pereira

Lauren McDonagh-Pereira

Lauren McDonagh-Pereira is a photographer from Massachusetts, USA. She captures the beauty of the world around her, favoring Nikon cameras and lenses. She is drawn to shooting landscapes, wildlife, flowers, and people enjoying time together.

What Does Twitter’s New Ban on Social Media Links Mean for NFT Artists?

An NFT ARTIST's REACTION TO THE NEW TWITTER POLICY

Update: By Monday, December 19, 2022, Twitter repealed this policy, deleted the announcement tweet and took down it “Promotion of Alternative Social Platforms Policy” page. 

I am choosing to leave this article as is. I think it highlights the need for artists to invest in their own websites that they have ownership of.

Social media should be a tool we use to share our content. It should not be where our content lives. This incident shows that we cannot count on social media platforms to have our best interests in mind. 

On Sunday, December 18, 2022 Twitter announced a new controversial policy via a Tweet.   The policy stated that Twitter would no longer allow users to post links to other social media platforms. The announcement specifically named links to Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, Truth Social, Tribal, Post and Nostr, as well as links to 3rd party linking services such as linktr.ee and lnk.bio.

(Read Twitters full “Promotion of Alternative Social Platforms Policy” here). 

This means that Twitter users cannot provide links to their accounts on other social media platforms or use link aggregator services in their Tweets or in their Twitter bios. Violations of this policy will lead to deleted Tweets, account locks, and account suspensions. 

In this post, I will discuss what this policy change means for NFT artists who use Twitter, and what NFT artists should do to avoid losing access to their accounts. 

My name is Lauren McDonagh-Pereira. I am a photographerNFT artistNFT collector, and web3 blogger. I have been fully immersed in the NFT art space since February 2022.

photo of a woman holding a camera, surrounded by sunflowers
Lauren McDonagh-Pereira

Keep reading to find out what Twitter’s new social platform linking policy means for the NFT community. 

DISCLAIMER

A red stop sign against a blue sky, with a red rocks on either side
ⓒ Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography 2013

 

Before we get into it, please consider a few quick DISCLAIMERS.

  • I am not a financial advisor, an art expert, a lawyer, or an accountant. Always do your own research before purchasing NFTs and never spend money that you cannot afford to spend. 
  • This post represents my personal opinions and is NOT financial advice.
  • I am an NFT artist. At the time of posting, I have works minted on the Tezos and Ethereum blockchains. Links contained in this article may point to my own minted NFTs or may point to the NFTs of other artists that I have collected from. If you choose to collect NFTs referenced in this article, I may earn money from your purchase.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a popular microblogging platform. Users can craft Tweets using up to 280 characters. Tweets can include image files, short video files, and links to external websites or other Tweets. 

Users build an audience on Twitter when other users “Follow” them. As users gain followers, the audience for the content that they Tweet grows. (Read my post: 7 Traits You Need to Gain Twitter Followers in the NFT Community).  

Twitter is a powerful platform for sharing content, because users can “Retweet” or “Quote Retweet” each other’s content. These actions share the original Tweet with a wider audience and can create the momentum needed to make a Tweet gain viral attention. 

Why Do NFT Artists, Collectors, and Enthusiasts Use Twitter?

For the last year or so, Twitter has been the hub of the NFT community. NFT artists and NFT collectors have flocked to Twitter for Twitter Spaces, the ability to create Lists of users to create curated content feeds, and to build a strong sense of community by cross-promoting each other via Retweets. 

Twitter spaces have been a popular tool within the NFT community. NFT artists and NFT collectors can meet in Twitter spaces to chat, share their work, or discuss the latest news at any hour of the day or night. Many communities, such as the Flare artists’ group, have been created on Twitter because people attend the same Twitter Spaces over and over again, allowing them to build relationships with the people who also frequent those spaces. As an NFT artist or NFT collector, Twitter Spaces are an excellent way to network with other members of the NFT community from all over the world. 

Unlike Instagram or Facebook, Twitter allows its users to create Lists. Lists allow users to group accounts together to create curated feeds. For example, I have created lists for my close friends in the NFT community, lists of major players in the NFT community that I want insight from, and lists of people specifically involved in the Tezos NFT community. Instead of scrolling through my feed of all 13,000 Twitter users that I follow, I can direct my attention towards a subset of accounts when needed. 

Cross-promotion through retweeting has been a major draw for NFT artists and collectors. We have built a strong community by amplifying each other’s art, ideas, and voices with the power of retweeting. On other social media platforms, you can comment on or like what other users have posted, but Twitter offers a simple way to repost the content of others. Retweeting can effectively spread messages and art that you appreciate, and in turn build a connection between you and the person whose content you retweeted. (Read my article about Twitter growth for more insight). 

Twitter Spaces, Twitter Lists, and Retweets are just a few of the prime reasons that Twitter has been such a popular platform for the NFT community. Many artists have used Twitter to build an audience, promote their work, and create a supportive community. 

What does Twitter’s New Ban on Social Media Links Mean for NFT Artists?

There are two major problems with this new policy for NFT Artists; the social media link ban and the link aggregator ban. 

The social media link ban is a problem for NFT artists. The NFT community may live on Twitter, but the rest of the world is dispersed among a variety of social media platforms. Each social media platform has its own strengths and weaknesses, and each draws users to themselves for different reasons. 

NFT artists must work hard to market their digital art so that their work rises above the competition and ultimately gets collected. NFT artists cannot afford to limit themselves to one social media platform, because each platform has its own unique audience that contains potential collectors and clients. From a time management perspective, it makes sense for artists to link between their different styles of content on different social media platforms instead of trying to post the same content over and over again on a myriad of platforms. 

Twitter’s new ban on linking to other social media profiles will prevent artists from streamlining their marketing workflows. Artists will not be able to use Twitter to grow their audiences on alternative social media platforms, and will be disincentivized to use other social media platforms to grow their Twitter engagement.  This will likely cause NFT artists to spend less energy on their Twitter profiles, as it will become useless for cross-promotion with other audiences. 

The biggest challenge imposed by Twitter’s new “Promotion of Alternative Social Platforms Policy ” is its explicit bad on link aggregators. Link aggregators, like linkt.ree, are vitally important for NFT artists. We use services, like linktr.ee, to direct people to the NFT platforms where they can collect our NFTs.

A screenshot of the Linktree of Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography
Linkt.ree of Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography

It seems that the intention of this rule is to prevent Twitter users from trying to circumvent the ban on sharing other social media platform links. It is common practice for NFT artists to provide links to all of their social media profiles in their linktr.ee. Since Twitter has banned linking to other social media platforms, they have banned using link aggregators that might direct Twitter users towards those platforms.

Unfortunately, this ban is short-sighted and presents a massive new challenge for NFT artists, or any content creator who uses Twitter as a promotion tool. 

Prior to this ban, most artists had a linktr.ee or similar service posted as the main link in their Twitter bio. When a prospective NFT collector was impressed by a piece of art shared in a Tweet, they would go to the artist’s Twitter home page, locate the artist’s linkt.ree, and follow the links to NFT minting platforms, such as Foundation or Objkt.com. Without a link aggregator easily accessible in an artist’s bio, collectors will have a difficult time figuring out where to go to collect NFTs from artists who they found on Twitter. 

As of the first version of Twitter’s “Promotion of alternative social platforms policy”, only linktr.ee and lnk.bio are explicitly banned as examples of link aggregators. However, I do not believe it will be long before alternative link aggregators will also be banned, so I do not think it is a wise use of an NFT artist’s time to build an alternative link aggregator for themselves.

An image of a damaged wooden pier leading to the calm sea. A chain block the entrance to the pier. A sign on the chain reads "Danger - No trespassing. Police take notice."
© Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography

What Should NFT Artists Do Now that Twitter Has Released Its “Promotion of Alternative Social Platforms Policy”?

It is crucial that all NFT artists take Twitter’s new “Promotion of alternative social platforms policy” seriously. Choosing to ignore it, or assuming that it will be overturned in light of the public backlash against it might lead to your Twitter account being locked or suspended. Personally, I have worked very hard over the last ten months to grow my Twitter audience to over 13,000 followers (Learn how I did it in this article). I am not willing to take any risks with my account at this point in my NFT career.

As soon as you possibly can, go to your Twitter profile and remove all link aggregators and links to the banned social media platforms. Prior to this new policy, I had my linkt.ree  posted in my Twitter bio. I have replaced it with a direct link to my Objkt.com NFT page since that is where I mint most of my NFTs.

A screenshot of the Twitter bio of Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography
Compliant Twitter Bio

Do not risk waking up tomorrow to a suspended account. Go remove your linkt.ree, Instagram handle, Facebook group name, or Mastodon profile right now.

I would also suggest using the advanced search feature on the browser version of Twitter to look for old Tweets that contain references to your accounts on other social media platforms and deleting those tweets. The “Promotion of alternative social platforms policy” says that it will lock accounts until these Tweets are deleted. It is not clear whether the policy only applies to Tweets created after December 18, 2022 or if it applies to old Tweets as well. I am going to air on the side of caution and delete my older references to Instagram, Vero and Tiktok.

an abandoned red adobe store in the desert
© Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography

How Can NFT Artists Organize Their Links Moving Forward?

I strongly recommend that all serious NFT artists create their own website as soon as possible.

I created this site in November 2022, using WordPress.org. I purchased hosting through Bluehost.com, signed up for a WordPress.org account and set to work building this self-hosted site. It was a challenge, but I got some tips from friends, downloaded the Elementor plugin, and learned as I built with some helpful YouTube videos

If you do not have the time or energy to build a self-hosted website from scratch, and believe me, I get that. There are lots of services that will do most of the work for you. Smugmug.com, Wix.com, and Squarespace.com are all examples of trusted platforms for simple website building.

Once you have your own website you create links for visitors to follow to all of your social media platforms, and all the platforms that you have your work minted on.

You can also create a gallery page where you display all of your minted NFT work across various platforms and provide direct links to the minted NFTs that are ready to be collected.

As of the first version of Twitter’s new “Promotion of Alternative Social Platforms Policy” there is no rule against including links to your own independent website or blog in your Twitter bio or in your Tweets. Twitter users who like your Tweet content can be directed to your personal website or blog, and from there find links to your NFT platforms, and your social media platforms.

Creating your own website or blog to showcase your NFT art work is a large undertaking. But it is one that serious NFT artists should be taking anyway. By taking away our ability to link to other social media platforms or link aggregators, maybe Twitter is just giving us the push we needed to get busy on building websites that we own ourselves. 

A side profile portrait of the head an shoulders of a puffin against a bright blue sky.
ⓒ Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography 2022

CONCLUSION

Twitter’s announcement of their new “Promotion of alternative social platforms policy” is controversial. NFT artists and NFT collectors who have spent the last two years building Twitter audiences to showcase their work have every right to be outraged. Twitter provides us with a platform, and in return we provide Twitter with free, high-quality content.

However, now is not the time to complain. It’s time to shake off our outrage and get to work building our own websites. If we want a decentralized internet, we need to put in the work.

Do you already have your own website? Will you be building one as a result of Twitter’s announcement? Let me know in the comments. 

Remember to follow me on Twitter (and Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, YouTube, and Vero) to see my latest articles and updates. 

More to explore

photo of a woman holding a camera, surrounded by sunflowers

MEET Lauren McDonagh-Pereira

Lauren McDonagh-Pereira is a photographer from Massachusetts, USA. She captures the beauty of the world around her, favoring Nikon cameras and lenses. She is drawn to shooting landscapes, wildlife, nature, and people authentically enjoying life.